If any of your patients are suffering from chronic sinusitis and have been through multiple courses of antibiotics, then you know the ills of the antibiotic approach.
The use of antibiotics can leave a patient with intestinal problems and often yeast infections.
If successful, antibiotics might resolve a sinus infection for six months or so. But the next time the sinusitis comes back, a different antibiotic will need to be used, and the side effects will likely return.
Why does this cycle occur? Why can’t you win the war if you’re winning the battles? Because the antibiotic approach often does more harm than good. It replaces microorganisms in the sinuses with new strains that are more difficult to eradicate with antibiotics, leaving a more formidable foe after each round.1
Even worse, antibiotics won’t kill fungal infections, which are left to multiply. Furthermore, antibiotics are taken systemically, which means they course throughout the entire body even when they are only needed in the sinuses. This distorts the microbial flora in the body and can lead to other infections.
What approach, then, should a sinus sufferer take?
Understanding the enemy
The problem is twofold: First, you are fighting a symbiotic relationship of fungi and bacteria with an active agent that kills only the bacteria. Second, the antibiotics used to kill the bacteria kills only some of them. The microbes that are not susceptible to the chosen antibiotic will take over the feeding grounds of the ones that were killed.
This is a recipe for taking a bad neighborhood and making it worse by killing off only the weakest of criminals.
The sinuses are also host to many fungi. They thrive on the mucopolysaccharides (mucus) that line the sinus passages and produce exotoxins that irritate the sinus membranes. The immune system does its best to kill these invaders, but this is a constant battle, as every breath a person takes contains molds, bacteria, and viruses.
Making the problem worse, fungus acts as a layer of insulation on which bacteria can live and thrive.2 The bacteria can digest the conversion of the mucopolysaccharides by the fungus and live on top of them. In this manner, they are isolated from the immune system and thus from antibiotics, which are distributed via the microcapillary bed.
Searching for solutions
To approach the problem of sinusitis with a systemic antibiotic to kill the bacteria is only a partial solution. You need an antifungal as well to attenuate the population of molds that inhabit the sinuses and insulate the bacteria from the reach of the immune system and antibiotics.3
Moreover, taking drugs orally delivers a huge body burden and, in many cases, very little actually reaches the pathogens. An antimicrobial needs to be applied directly to the infection.
Additionally, it is important to choose an antimicrobial that can kill all the bacteria. Antibiotics work in three discrete ways and can kill three different groups of bacteria. Each type of antibiotic will kill only a portion of the fauna.
What you want is a broad- spectrum antimicrobial that kills all types of bacteria as evenly as possible so that you don’t just eliminate the weak ones, and one that will also kill fungus.
As it turns out, pure aqueous colloidal silver is both antifungal and antibacterial (although it is more effective against bacteria than it is against fungi). It kills some bacteria better than others, but it does kill them all.
When pure aqueous colloidal silver of sufficient potency (greater than 35 ppm) is mixed with a surfactant (such as polysorbate 20) to enhance penetration into cells, it is phenomenally effective—showing kill rates greater than 1 million in less than 20 minutes.4
Clinical studies have shown that enhanced colloidal silver can terminate simple sinus infections in a week or less, which is far better than sinus surgery or antibiotics.
What’s more, it can be sprayed directly into the sinuses so it doesn’t have to be taken systemically. This permits a huge reduction in the amount needed.
A patient will thus avoid having a powerful antimicrobial coursing throughout the entire body because it is applied only where the infection is occurring.
Protocols for use
Once a person has a sinus infection, their corresponding mucosal flow is generally large. This can flush an applied antimicrobial from the area in less than 10 minutes.5 It is paramount to the success of this therapy that the environment be replenished with the antimicrobial agent every 20 to 30 minutes.
Regular reapplication is necessary because not only does the mucus carry away the antimicrobial, but the bacteria and fungus can double in numbers every 20 minutes. To get ahead of their reproductive rate, one needs to repeatedly spray to kill them. Repeated application at 20 to 30 minute intervals is the key to making the treatment work.
This balanced holistic approach to sinusitis relies on using the right active agent, in the right concentration, in the right place, and with the right protocol. Done correctly, the patient can attenuate the infection while sparing the normal population of microbial flora, re-establishing a healthy balance of power in the nose.
If you use a Neti Pot, you know that it reaches the most remote areas of the sinuses. Most Neti Pot protocols suggest using saline, but bacteria and fungi love saline so the only benefit from that protocol is that some would be washed away.6
You can alternatively fill the sinuses with a powerful antimicrobial (e.g., enhanced aqueous colloidal silver) and then close off the nose with your fingers. Sitting this way for about 10 minutes will kill more bacteria and fungi than a week-long regimen of antibiotics.
Aqueous colloidal silver does sting a bit when flushed into the sinuses, but if it is held there, it soon reaches osmotic equilibrium and the discomfort subsides. Doing this in the morning and the evening produces extraordinary results in relieving difficult sinus infections.
[Alternatively, essential oil therapies may also provide relief as explained here. ― eds.]
Steven R. Frank is an herbalist from the Front Range of Colorado with many years of experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries with indigenous plants and herbs. He has studied the actions of these natural remedies in the clinic and the laboratory. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and through his blog at mynaturesrite.com.
1 Hampton T. Novel Programs and Discoveries Aim to Combat Antibiotic Resistance. JAMA. 2015;313(24):2411-2413.
2 Sanderson AR, Leid JG, Hunsaker D. Bacterial biofilms on the sinus mucosa of human subjects with chronic rhinosinusitis. The Laryngoscope. 2006;116(7):1121-6.
3 Parsek MR, Singh PK. Bacterial biofilms: an emerging link to disease pathogenesis. Annual Review of Microbiology. 2003;57:677-701.
4 Cornelius A, Frank S. (2006). Antimicrobial Testing of Silver Colloids and Silver Iontophoresis. (p. 84-88). Boulder, CO: Klearsen Corporation.
5 Al-Rawi M, Edelstein DR, Erlandson RA. Changes in nasal epithelium in patients with severe chronic sinusitis: a clinicopathologic and electron microscopic study. Laryngoscope. 1998;108:1816-1823.
6 Pynnonen MA, Mukerji SS, Kim HM, Adams ME, Terrell JE. Nasal saline for chronic sinonasal symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;133(11):1115-20.